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Peel Ports puts modernising fleet and health and safety focus to the fore

Peel Ports puts modernising fleet and health and safety focus to the fore

Activa Contracts has won a sole supply, full outsourcing fleet deal with Peel Ports Group, one of the UK’s largest port operators, that focuses on modernising the company’s fleet and duty of care compliance with the introduction of a raft of safe driving features.  

Peel Ports owns facilities in Clydeport in Scotland, Great Yarmouth, Heysham, Liverpool, London Medway and the Manchester Ship Canal and operates a terminal in Dublin.

Headquartered on Merseyside, Peel Ports has centralised management of its 190-vehicle fleet and, following a comprehensive review, has decided to switch from purchasing most cars, vans, 4x4s and minibuses to a fully outsourced contract hire with maintenance solution.  

Activa Contracts, has had a relationship with Peel Ports for many years and four years ago supplied 80 vehicles on contract hire with maintenance for operation at the Port of Liverpool.  

Many of those vehicles, on four-year/48,000-mile contracts, are due for replacement and that was the catalyst for Peel Ports deciding to replace the majority of the other fleet vehicles and simultaneously move from outright purchase to contract hire.  

A total of 45 new vehicles, typically Vauxhall light commercial vehicles, have been recently supplied and a further 87 vehicles are expected to be replaced this year.  
All new vehicles are being equipped with Lightfoot in-vehicle driver behaviour technology and Autokontrol geo-fence speed limiters which automatically reduces a vehicle’s speed to the speed limit within a port. Additionally vehicles are now specified with reversing sensors, Bluetooth and air conditioning.  

All vehicles - 90% of the fleet are vans with the remainder comprising cars that operate as security vehicles and specialist vehicles - are driven almost exclusively portside.  

Typically low mileage, some vehicles have clocked up under 10,000 miles, Peel Ports is to shortly trial a Nissan e-NV200 electric van at the Port of Liverpool with the possibility that further zero emission models could be introduced to the fleet operation at all ports.  

Lance Weissenborn, head of group asset management at Peel Ports and in charge of the fleet, said: “Peel Ports is a world class professional organisation and health and safety is top of the company’s agenda.  

“We analysed the age profile of some of our vehicles and being several years old they were not equipped with the very latest safety technology.”  

What’s more introducing new vehicles powered by the very latest fuel-efficient, emission-reducing engines would cut fuel bills and Peel Ports’ carbon footprint, while simultaneously delivering service, maintenance and repair cost savings.  

The new vehicles featuring the latest safety equipment along with a new driver handbook, which Activa Contracts helped to compile, were introduced to company directors and senior management at a series of roadshows held at all ports. The roadshows included presentations from Activa Contracts, Lightfoot, Autokontrol and representatives of the Freight Transport Association, which introduced Peel Port to its Van Excellence best practice programme.  

Mr Weissenborn said: “We are at the start of the journey to outsource the fleet to Activa Contracts. The roadshows were attended by company directors and senior management who support the need for greater engagement with drivers so they understand the benefits of the new technology. We want our drivers to be safer and better equipped to do their job.

“Using the technology and the data provided by Lightfoot will see driver risk reduce.  

“Peel Ports recognises the importance of health and safety and compliance, and partnering with Activa Contracts to deliver a modern vehicle fleet reinforces that commitment.  

“Moving to a central fleet management structure from a facility-based management platform will result in greater focus on vehicle operations delivering efficiencies and improved vehicle utilisation.”  

During the transition phase to contract hire with maintenance, Activa Contracts is maintenance managing owned vehicles, while also providing a range of other services across the fleet including livery, racking and beacons for vehicles and fuel card management.  

Activa Contracts’ area manager Sally Lewis said: “We have worked closely with Peel Ports to review its vehicle requirements notably taking into account whole life costs, fitness-for-purpose and utilisation. It is a 24-hour fleet operation, but typically low mileage so it has special requirements.  

“Activa Contracts has effectively become Peel Ports’ fleet department taking on the day-to-day management of the fleet.”

Activa Contracts’ sales and marketing director Lisa Temperton said: “The development in the way the fleet is managed is a major change for Peel Ports. We have had a relationship with Peel Ports for almost 10 years and have always looked to support the company. In the past 12 months Peel Ports has looked to better understand how its fleet operates and related duty of care and expenditure.

“That new focus has resulted in a wholesale change to the way the fleet was previously managed as well as introduction of the new vehicles and the spotlight on further improvements to health and safety. Peel Ports’ fleet is being transformed into one fit for the 21st century with drivers’ health and safety at its core.”